Alternate Picking 101 - Technique Breakdown

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Alternate Picking 101 - Exercise 1 - Chromatic Sca...

Hey guys! In this lesson I really wanted to focus on the mechanics of alternate picking; how I've personally come to develop my own technique, and what you guys can do to further yours.

To start; right hand technique. I see so many players out there playing with slight imperfections that often inhibit their over-all technique. Early fatigue should not come at the expense of something that could be fixed by merely channeling energy in another area.

So to start, isolate the wrist so that you avoid tensing up in unnecessary areas. An easy way to test your technique and figure out what you may or may not be doing correctly, examine the location of your right wrist. Make sure that the "wrist bone" (as demonstrated in the video) is planted somewhere on the bridge. What this does is makes sure that from the get-go, we are not picking from areas like the elbow, using needless forearm energy, etc.

Pick angle; keep the pick aligned on a 45 degree angle facing downwards. This decreases the surface area of the physical pick touching the strings, making it easier to pick at increased speeds. This will also enable you to to incorporate the thumb as another method for muting.

The main thing to keep in mind with regards to left hand technique, is whether or not your over-all hand posture is working for or against you. Keeping it at a 45 degree angle, as demonstrated in the video, will drastically reduce the need to make uncomfortable hand stretches that can potentitally injure tendons.

Now, to get down the actual technique and reasoning for it. Altnerate picking is basically a modified "basic strumming pattern" technique. The importance of the up-stroke should never be diminished and should in fact be treated with equal respect to the down-stroke.